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Prosecutor v. Tadic

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Appeals Chamber Case No. IT-94-1-AR72, 35 I.L.M. 32 (1996)


Dusko Tadic (defendant) was the first individual to be tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) (plaintiff). He was tried for war crimes and was accused of committing atrocities at the Serb-run Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992. In his defense, Tadic raised the argument that the ICTY did not have jurisdiction over his case because it was not established until 1993 by a decision of the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council established the ICTY without the participation or consent of any of the states comprising the former Yugoslavia. In making this defense, Tadic relied on the argument that the ICTY was not “established by law,” citing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provided that “in the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.” Tadic argued that this right to a tribunal “established by law” is a “general principle of law recognized by civilized nations,” and is codified in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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